Kent's biggest half marathon returns on Sunday
Thousands will pound the roads of Paddock Wood once again
The delayed 31st Lambert & Foster Paddock Wood Half Marathon takes place on Sunday 5 September, with 2,561 entries at the time of going to press, confirming this ever-popular race as the biggest 13.1-miler in Kent.
The small town of Paddock Wood, once the centre of the Kent hop growing industry, normally welcomes spring marathon hopefuls preparing for races such as London and Brighton – a service that quite by coincidence this year's race will still provide as those major events have also been pushed back into autumn slots.
The predominantly flat, single-lap course through glorious Kent countryside has yielded impressive times, with course records of 1:05:06 by Frank Tickner (Wells City Harriers) in 2013 and 1:13:25 from Tish Jones (Belgrave Harriers) in 2014. Previous international winners include Russia's Vladimir Shyrts, Eritrean Biriam Ande, and Kenya's Nicholas Kirui.
With the 2020 race cancelled, the last winners from 2019 were Nick Torry (Serpentine, 1:05:34) and Eilidh Bell (Team Bath, 1:19:00) as 2,050 finished inside three and a half hours. There were more than 270 runners home within 90 minutes and 1,275 broke two hours.
The inaugural champions in 1989 were Derek Stevens (Hastings, 1:08:04) and Sue Martin-Clarke (Medway, 1:22:16) – who went on to become the most successful athlete with five wins, matched by Paddock Wood's Tina Oldershaw between 1998 and 2013. Medway AC's Barry Royden is the most prolific male winner, with three wins between 1998 and 2004.
Lambert & Foster continue their headline sponsorship and will be present again with the Lambert & Foster "Selfie Stand" for those all-important social media posts. There will be pacers for times from 1:30 to 2:30 and official race photos will be available from Sussex Sports Photography after the event.
In line with current Government guidelines the race will be going ahead with a mass start at 9:30am and no Covid restrictions will be imposed.
This traditional road race is organised by the local Paddock Wood AC club and details are available at the event website here
Results will appear at runABC South's race listing here
Image courtesy James Ridger, Paddock Wood AC